Monday, June 30, 2014

Misfit goes patriotic and Shines Coca-Cola Red for the 4th

In honor of our country’s Independence, Misfit has made their popular fitness tracker available in a new color, Coca-Cola Red.  For those unfamiliar the Shine and why this is a big deal as there weren’t really any bold colors available and were more elegant and sophisticated colors, but what non-tobacco related brand is known for their own color?
This is not my first experience with Misfit’s fitness tracker as my previous review when the Shine first launched can be found here. Those without the time for the long version of my review, the Shine was a virtually flawless fitness monitor that was waterproof, stylish, and did not need recharging.  To date, it still works great when I remember to wear it, but after time the Shine has really grown. Accessories were limited, but now there are a variety of places to stick the Shine that now include socks, tees, leather bands and necklaces.

The patriotic Coca-Cola Red is an eye-catching color that stands out even more with the first time-white athletic wristband. I unboxed mine right before a workout so I stuck mine in the new athletic shirt and immediately forgot it was there.  New features that I gladly welcomed to my experience were the activity tracking by simply triple tapping before starting specified activity and sleep tracking. The Coca-Cola Red Misfit Shine is available now for $99.99, but in the spirit of the holiday, there is also a Star Spangled Set that includes the Coca-Cola Red Shine, Navy Misfit Classic Tee, and a black Sport Band for $119.99. If Coca-Cola Red is not the color you are looking for, there are eight other colors available to choose from at Mistfit’s site.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

RCA's new HDTV antenna is paper-thin, amplified, and last reason needed to cut the cable

Our next piece of functionality at its simplest comes to me from RCA in the form of an ultra thin, omni directional, indoor amplified HDTV antenna, that was a mouth full. Many, like myself, have cut the cable as there has been less demand for it with the numerous streaming services available, but the downside is missing out on the local stations. This ultra thin antenna provides free local channels in up to 1080i by using a patented multi directional 360-degree design and including SmartBoost to amplify week signals. I have known about these HDTV antennas but have not experienced first hand, luckily now is my opportunity to put this bad boy to work.
There is not much to say about this antenna after seeing the results of the channel scan after being plugged in...44 found channels, most of which were in clear HD, only two that did not come in clearly, and a quarter of those being broadcasted in Spanish, so I would expect this to vary based on location as I am in Arizona. Along with all the amazingly clear public broadcast, this antenna is paper thin, has a reversible white or black surface, and includes set and forget two sided mounting tape tabs that are easy to remove and did not rip off paint when removed. Unlike a lot of peripherals, this antenna came with a 12-foot cable, giving plenty of cord for inconspicuous placement.

There was nothing I could complain about in my usage of RCA's super antenna as it was simple to hook up, delivered free public listings in stunning HD and is truly the last reason needed for many others to cut the cable. The price of the antenna is just as nice as what it can do as it costs less than one month of most cable packages and doubles as a backup source of viewing when storms conflict with cable or satellite broadcasts. RCA's ultra-thin, omni-directional, indoor amplified HDTV antenna is available now for the price of $69.99.

Forget Bluetooth and AirPlay, Favi Audio+ uses Set To Connect

We have some great items this week that are simplicity and functionality at it’s finest. I am going to start with the Favi audio+ for the wireless speaker! Simple enough, but I expect Favi to have a trick up their sleeve, as they are the same company that turned my dumb TV into a smart TV with only a dongle. Well they did not disappoint as this speaker doubles as a stand and there is no hassle to sync as Favi uses their Set To Connect technology. Not much more to say about the features, simple and sweet, so let's see how this desk companion fares.
Out go the box this cradle/speaker has a soft rubber texture no slip feet, and a lip at the bottom to fold a phone upright and securely whether sporting a case or going commando. The Set To Connect technology is what vexed me most as I did not need to have Bluetooth turned on in order for the speaker to pick up and amplify what I was listening to, pull the phone away and sound goes back through the phone, it's magic. The audio+ is perfect for Face Time and videoconference, freeing up hands for trying to put together last minute reports or playing solitaire. Like I said about the sound, it amplifies, making that is coming out of the phone louder and not necessarily better. 
Favi's audio+ speaker works great for what it is but don't expect to get the same quality at higher volumes that are seen from Bluetooth speakers. We all know that the iPhone speakers suck, so getting more sound to hear from my desktop without having the volume cranked up on the phone is nice. This speaker can also be used for to actually hear whatever video you are trying to watch from Netflix to YouTube, but only in portrait orientation as the Set To Connect does not pick up the sound in landscape viewing. The Favi audio+ Set To Connect speaker is available now in black or white for $49.99.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I-Mego releases another headphone with retro inspiration, the MAZE

It has been a while since I have done a headphone review so when I got the press release for I-Mego's latest product, the MAZE on ear headphones, I jumped on the opportunity. The MAZE headphones much like the Thrones takes retro design elements and incorporates them to provide a unique look, in this case a vinyl record looking deco plate is used with a metal slider to resemble a tone arm. Within the headphones lies neodymium 40mm speaker that are thirty percent thinner to get the most air cabinet volume. So now that they are unbowed and pumping my playlist to my dome, let's see how they perform. 
To start off, these cans pack some serious bass, a lot more than I was expecting upon first listen and the mids and highs do a good job at trying to keep up. The headphones are very light and field up nicely into the included carrying case, but the best part of the design has got to be the materials used as they do not feel cheap and sport a very modernized look. I have a diverse playlist and like to listen loud, so when cranked up between 60 and 70 percent I was jamming out to my own personal concert, but unfortunately anything higher than that tends to crack or distort based on the genre being listened to. And lastly the cushioned ear pads are nice but my ears got a bit sore after listening to a couple hours straight and a short break resolved the discomfort.

I-Mego has stepped up the design and build of their headphones since the last two models I reviewed. If you are in the market for a new pair of headphones, the MAZE is a great product that stands out both visually and audibly, just know that if you are someone that listens at full blast that there will likely be distortion. That being said, at just shy of three quarters volume, was more than I or anyone around me needed while listening. I am also happy that a case is included with the headphones to help protect and maybe their next model will include a hard-shell case.  I-Mego's MAZE is available now for the price of $139.99.

Martian presents the Notifier, a smart watch that is out of this world

I have finally received my first Bluetooth watch and it comes to me courtesy of Martian and is aptly dubbed the Notifier. The Notifier is a smart watch that that is both fashionable and functional with an analog face that includes an OLED readout that allows your phone to stay in your pocket by providing alerts to your wrist in real time. A free Martian Notifier App makes syncing with your apple or android phone fast and management of notifications easy. So now that the Notifier is set up and strapped on, let's see how it performs.
I had the pleasure of seeing the Martian watches over the last two years at CES and the biggest standout feature was that it was a stylish watch whose features don't take away from the timepiece but instead compliment it well. This smart watch does not over complicate as there is a know to adjust the time, a button to initiate voice commands, find phone, or camera shutter, and another button to see time, date, and temperature, on top of adjusting setting without accessing the app. There is also no shortage of notifications as the wristwatch supported all of the apps in which I have set up to push notifications. I was not a fan of having to recharge the watch as I was worried about how often I would have to recharge but five days in and I am at half charge, so charging can easily be a once a week task.

The Martian Notifier is the watch I didn't know I needed as I found myself accessing my phone less often when donning this accessory. I also liked that I was able to set up custom notifications depending on the type of alert. The leash was an interesting feature but since I leave my phone docked at my desk, I quickly turned the feature off as I was alerted almost every time I left my desk, but it was nice to be alerted when I was about to leave my phone in my car when it is a hundred and ten degrees outside. The Notifier is not the only watch in Martian's lineup but it is the most affordable with a soft and comfortable silicon band, three available colors, and a price of $129.00.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Divoom's Voombox sheds weight and adds portability with the Travel

Divoom, manufacturer of numerous compact Bluetooth speakers, has provided me with their latest life proof speaker that is small enough to go virtually anywhere. The Voombox Travel as it is so appropriately named takes the original Voombox, and dramatically reduces it in size to be taken more places with little to no additional effort. This palm sized speaker sports a clip to be added onto a belt loop or backpack and water resistant design to brave the elements. The palm sized travel speaker has piggybacked on my laptop bag for a week; it is now time to break it down.
This pint-sized powerhouse blows me away, as I was expecting the single speaker personal sound, but experienced music that easily sounded better than most of the speakers twice its size. The size is great as it really fit in my palm and was not uncomfortable or bulky whether clipped to my bag or belt loop. Being an on the go speaker is not its only trick as it was just as at home clipped on my pool volleyball net and was surprisingly loud enough to fill the pool with tunes. Most Bluetooth speakers have a bass radiator with little added sound but the Voombox Travel’s radiator makes a huge difference to the depths of sound it reaches.
In the end, this speaker was more than what I was expecting as it had more range than those with twice the components and power. The durability is a huge reason to go everywhere as the speaker is built to take a beating and be worry free, and it does that in spades. The best part is the price point as it enters the market with half the size, parts, and price while outperforming the majority of those out of their class making this a recommended purchase to anyone in the market of a small wireless speaker to have on them most anywhere. The Divoom Voombox Travel is available now in an assortment of colors for the price of $49.90.